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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Lieberman, DLC, Bloggers and the 2006 Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

As of late, there has been a great deal of discussion concerning a potential primary challenge to Senator Joe Lieberman. As is to be expected, the DLC is flacking for Lieberman, here's what our friend at Bull Moose says:

While the Moose is clearly partial to the blogosphere, as of yet, he has not seen evidence it carries much political clout outside of raising money.

First of all, I'm glad we can all agree that any primary would be very well financed. Furthermore, it bears notice that bloggers don't pay consultants on percentage, and absent such conflicts of interest the bulk would not be wasted on TV (Lieberman would not have such an advantage and considering the expense of the media markets involved, this is very relevant).

Democratic Primary voters love an underdog (cue: Eye of the Tiger), so any such investment in media would gain immediate traction. The numbers I spend all day looking at on Social Security suggest that any such campaign would have even more support among seniors than among young anti-war activists.

So, bloggers would have the money to run plenty of mail, robo-calls, radio, etc. And the money to build the organization.

The organization is where things get interesting. Because the unique geographical location of the district in relationship to a fuckton of people.

In fact, if you look nationwide at population density outside, but nearby a state, Connecticut would be the poster child for volunteer mobilization in a nationalized primary. Here's a density map based on population density that I pulled together from National Atlas
Keep reading for all the maps.

Clearly Connecticut brings this potential dynamic into play more than any other state in the union. Not only would comparisions to non-internet driven campaigns be irrelevant, but so would comparisions with past primary campaigns in other regions.

In fact, when we zoom in, it becomes even clearer that there are a helluva lot of people nearby.

The problem is that this map uses the same color (dark blue) to show density of 250-66,395. Which is a fairly wide range, so let's look at the extreme population density with another map where each point of light represents 7,500 people. When you look at the area around his district it is lit up like it could be seen from space.

The biggest problem for Lieberman in any potential primary campaign is that a great deal of these people are Democrats. Playing around with Professor Robert Vanderbei's maps shows that not only are there a great deal of people, but that the people who live near Connecticut compromise a bastion of Democratic voters. The following map is a sliding partisan scale (blue to red) with the vertical axis representing population density.

The blue skyscrapers just outside of Connecticut represent the northeastern base of the Democratic Party. Many of these voters are activists and if organized (hmmm, such as online) could be mobilized to form an organization unlike any army ever raised for a primary campaign.

The important thing to note is that these volunteers would have more than idealogy on their side, they would actually have science. Yes, scientists study how Lieberman hurts the Democratic Party in the minds of swing voters. Cognative Scientist Professor George Lakoff concludes:

There is a myth that voters are lined up in a left-to-right line, and that to gain the support of swing voters, you must move to the center. When progressives move to the right, they lose in two ways, setting up a self-defeating double-whammy:

1) Moving to the right alienates your progressive base.

2) It actually helps conservatives because it activates their model in swing voters.

Notice that conservatives do not gain more voters by moving to the Left. What they do is stick to their strict ideology to activate their model in swing voters by being clear and consistent in policies and messages framed in terms of conservative values.

A potential primary be instantly nationalized, would have a pile of money that would fundamentally be spent more effectively, access to a greater pool of out-of-district activists than any race in the country, and the volunteers would know that they are scientifically doing the best thing for the Democratic Party.

Oh yeah, it it would start online so it would be extra nasty...

Posted at 12:35 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Netroots | Technorati